According to the complaint, obtained by Rolling Stone, Dash planned to sell an NFT of the Reasonable Doubt copyright at an auction on the platform SuperFarm, which was set to take place June 23rd through 25th. Roc-A-Fella claimed it sent letters to SuperFarm and Dash stating the sale was “improper” and requesting the auction be canceled. While SuperFarm did cancel the sale, the label maintains that Dash is “in the process of finding another venue to consummate this improper transaction.”
Dash, however, suggested the lawsuit was based on a misunderstanding and full of inaccuracies in a quote shared with TMZ (which originally broke the lawsuit story) on Sunday, June 20th. Dash reportedly claimed he wasn’t trying to sell an NFT of Reasonable Doubt, but rather his entire stake in Roc-A-Fella Records. Dash claimed that Jay-Z had recently tried to purchase his stake, but offered “a price I deemed unacceptable,” so he decided to find his own buyer.
“Under the terms of the deal with a potential buyer, the buyer would buy my share of Roc-A-Fella Records and Jay-Z will have exclusive administration rights,” Dash said.
A representative for Dash did not immediately return Rolling Stone‘s request for comment. Alex Spiro, a lawyer for Roc-A-Fella, directed Rolling Stone to the lawsuit and declined to comment further.
Jay-Z, Dash, and Kareem Burke co-founded Roc-A-Fella, and while Dash and Jay notably cut business ties in 2005, each of the three founders retains a one-third share in RAF, Inc. As Roc-A-Fella’s new lawsuit notes, however, Jay-Z’s original deal with his label stipulated that RAF, Inc. would be the sole owner of the rights to his albums, including Reasonable Doubt.
Despite RAF owning the copyright to Reasonable Doubt, the suit states that Dash intimated that he was the owner in the announcement for the NFT auction on SuperFarm. The lawsuit quotes the announcement, which begins: “SuperFarm is proud to announce, in collaboration with Damon Dash, the auction of Damon’s ownership of the copyright to Jay-Z’s first album Reasonable Doubt. This marks a new milestone in the history of NFT’s, entitling the new owner to future revenue generated by the unique asset… Selling the copyright to Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt as an NFT is a groundbreaking landmark — both for the crypto space and the broader music industry. The newly minted NFT will prove ownership of the album’s copyright, transferring the rights to all future revenue generated by the album from Damon Dash to the auction winner.”
In turn, the Roc-A-Fella lawsuit retorts: “The bottom line is simple: Dash can’t sell what he doesn’t own. By attempting such a sale, Dash has converted a corporate asset and has breached his fiduciary duties. His planned auction of Reasonable Doubt would result in irreparable harm. The Court should stop Dash from attempting to sell the copyright to Reasonable Doubt, require Dash to return the NFT of Reasonable Doubt to RAF, Inc., and hold him accountable for this brazen theft of RAF, Inc.’s most prized asset.”